Coastal and fluvial flooding poses the most widely distributed natural hazard in Europe, according to this month’s Maritime Engineering journal.
The September 2009 edition focuses on the European Commission’s £9M, five-year Floodsite research programme completed earlier this year, covering a suite of papers reflecting the coastal aspects of the study.
In his introduction to the issue, Andreas Kortenhaus of Techniche University in Braunschweig in Germany says Britain faces potential flood damage to the value of at least £270bn and the Netherlands could face even higher risk, of up to £720bn.
“In the UK about 10% of the population lives in areas of fluvial, tidal or coastal flood risk.”
Andreas Kortenhaus, Techniche University
“Over half of the population of the Netherlands lives below mean sea level; in the UK about 10% of the population lives in areas of fluvial, tidal or coastal flood risk. Fifteen out of 20 megacities worldwide are located at the coast, more or less directly subject to floods.”
The Floodsite research will aid civil engineers trying to protect society from the very real risk of flooding.
Kortenhaus says all the papers contribute to a better understanding of the two major lessons that have been learned from the coastal aspects of the research − the first being that ‘morphological changes must be considered in many areas at the coast since they may have a significant effect on both short-term and long-term processes’.
The second lesson is that tools are now available to civil engineers to describe the effects of changes in coastal morphology quantitatively. He says these tools can be used, “to integrate these effects in reliability-based design and to visualise all results in GIS environments so that decision-support tools may be developed”.